10 best dribblers of Europe's top leagues

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 29. ožujka 2021.

10 best dribblers of Europe's top leagues

While the general moaners are somewhat right when saying that the magic of football is slightly dying out with the focus on merciless pressing and data-driven decisions on the pitch, there are still those who carry the flame of old-school football. The dribblers make the difference on the pitch by the lucidity and quickness of their moves, opening up defences with their unexpected dances with the balls.

Once again, the international break serves as a great starting point to dissect the best dribblers of the season, looking at the five best European leagues: Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1.

10. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Not a surprising inclusion on the list but definitely a surprisingly low ranking amongst the top 10. Reports are stating that Kylian Mbappe wants to play on the left win in the future which will allow him to cut inside more and get more goals but also might improve his rankings in the coming years.

As for now, the Paris Saint-Germain starlet had 72 successful dribbles and almost the exact number of unsuccessful ones - 71. Which is the worst success percentage amongst the top 10 dribblers in football now. Over 25 games in the first French division, that goes for three dribbles per game.

9. Jeremy Doku (Rennes)

Yet another Ligue 1 inclusion, one of four total, Jeremy Doku is far less known than the predecessor but he is also four years younger than the biggest young prodigy. Rennes' right winger played in 24 league games this campaign and recorded 75 successful dribbles, with 43 failed ones for a success rate of 63.6%.

Doku, who arrived in 2020 from Anderlecht, on average gets 3.7 dribbles per game and is certainly looking like a player top teams will be competing over sooner rather than later.

8. Junior Messias (Crotone)

The second-oldest player on the list and only one of two players that will be in his fourth decade when the season concludes. Which makes sense, as dribbling is a young man's game. But it's also a Brazilian game so Junior Messias has one of two checked out. The Crotone SS played in 27 Serie A games, getting seven goals and three assists. But his 78 dribbles put him shoulder to shoulder with Europe's best.

As he failed 47 times, the former lower-league player has a success ratio of 63.6%, with a rate of 2.9 dribbles per game total.

7. Romain Faivre (Brest)

Yet another Ligue 1 product, a league that rarely dominates a single stat area amongst its four stronger competitors, but dribbling is well and alive in France. Perhaps because of the street football culture. Romain Faivre illustrates it even more as he is a central midfielder, not a winger from whom it would've been more expected to take on players.

In his 30 appearances in Ligue 1 so far, Faivre succeeded at 79 dribbles, failing at 35 of them for a ratio of 69.3%. The 22-year-old midfielder on average gets three dribbles per game for the mid-table side. He also contributed in the league with five goals and four assists.

6. Ludovic Blas (Nantes)

The last representative of French football, Ludovic Blas plays for Nantes, also in the midfield but more offensively than Faivre. Bilas played in 28 games for the Canaries this campaign, scoring seven times and getting three assists. In the ball-handling department he recorded 80 dribbles past his opponents.

Getting stopped on 48 occasions, the 23-year-old Blas holds a success rate of 62.5% and gets 3.4 dribbles per game for the side deeply in the relegation battle.

5. Andre Zambo Anguissa (Fulham)

The first and only one of two English Premier League representative is another player that came through France. The former Marseille player arrived at Fulham in the summer of 2018 for nearly €25,000,000 and played for the club only in the top division, going out on loan to Villarreal when they were in the Championship.

This season, the defensive midfielder played in 29 games, spending 2,227 minutes on the pitch already and recording 82 successful dribbles, with 40 dribbles resulting in failure. A ratio of 67.2% and a rate of 3.5 dribbles per game are in the shadow of Fulham's losing relegation battle.

4. Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese)

One of the most underrated players in Europe is also one of the top dribblers in the game in 2021. Rodrigo de Paul of Udinese is got to 21 caps for Argentina while still not getting a pull from a club with larger realistic options than the Bianconeri of Udine. The 26-year-old from Sarandi played in 27 games for the mid-table side, getting six goals and the same number of assists.

But the central midfielder does most of the good by driving the ball forward at his feet, with 92 dribbles accomplished in the season so far, and 38 failed. On average, it accounts to 3.4 dribbles per 90 minutes. With a success ratio of 70.8% that is bested only by the next person in line.

3. Javi Galan (Huesca)

The only defender on the list and one of two representatives of La Liga on the list, but certainly the only unexpected one. The 26-year-old left-back played in 28 games for the bottom-placed side of the Spanish top league. Getting one goal and two assists, but driving his team forward by dribbling past 93 players, while only getting foiled on 23 occasions. Making for the absolute best success ratio of 80.2%. After all, he is a defender first and must be careful. He also brings a similar number of dribbles per game - 3.5.

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

It was only a question where, not if Lionel Messi will find his place amongst top 10 dribblers of Europe. The 33-year-old is still going strong and bagged 23 goals and 10 assists in 26 games. At that, he also glided past his opponents on 113 tries, while getting stopped on 69 occasions for a success rate of 62.1%.

Leo Messi brings Barca 4.6 dribbles per game and is still amongst the very best in Europe in glueing the ball to his feet and leaving defenders behind him.

1. Adama Traore (Wolves)

The 28-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers winger has had an awfully silent season, getting only one assist and no goals in 28 matches of the Premier League. Yet, with his strength, speed, and explosivity, he still manages to beat his guardians and has achieved so on 118 occasions, with 50 tries resulting in failure. Calculating to a success ratio of 70.2% with the absolute best rate of 5.4 dribbles per game.

While the data shows that these are the best dribbler in 2020/2021 the phrase "best dribbler" never meant simply the person who left its guardian behind it. It’s still about the finesse and style points, the "ooooh" and "ahhh" of the audience, even by the little screens. So tell us on social media who is your favourite modern dribbler is?


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